Less than a month after the Sanath Jayasuriya-led panel put in its papers, Sri Lanka Cricket on Tuesday (September 19) announced a new national selection committee with Graeme Labrooy, the former paceman, at the helm of affairs.
The other members of the panel are Gamini Wickremasinghe, Jeryl Woutersz, Sajith Fernando and Asanka Gurusinha, who is in the selection committee also by virtue of being the cricket manager of the team.
Labrooy, the former Sri Lankan paceman, played nine Tests and 44 ODIs. He has 27 wickets in the longest format and 45 scalps in 50-over cricket. Wickremasinghe featured in three Tests and four one-dayers between 1989 and 1992. Woutersz and Fernando have played first-class cricket.
Gurusinha is the only surviving member of the previous panel. Jayasuriya, along with Ranjith Madurasinghe, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Eric Upashantha and Gurusinha, had tendered their resignation to the sports ministry on August 29 even though the sports minister had extended their stint till December 31.
Their term came to an end on September 7, at the conclusion of India’s tour of Sri Lanka.
The previous panel decided to step down after angry reactions from the fans to Sri Lanka’s loss during the third One-Day International in Pallekele. A section of the crowd started throwing bottles onto the playing area to express their anguish as India were cruising to a series-clinching win.
“The heartbreaking incidents of unruly behaviour we witnessed at Pallakelle were the last straw for us, and we feel that it will serve this sport we love better if we step down, rather than allow the influence of these dark elements to poison the minds of our people who have always been the greatest supporters in the world, and damage not only this great sport, but the reputation of our country, our people and our proud culture,” the selectors had said in a release after hanging up their boots.
Jayasuriya took over as chief selector from Aravinda de Silva on May 1, 2016. Early in Jayasuriya’s term, Sri Lanka swept Australia 3-0 at home and won a Twenty20 International series in Australia, but since then, the decline has been swift and abject.
Sri Lanka lost all three Tests, five ODIs and the one-off T20I against India, struggling to even remain competitive for the most part of the tour.
The new selectors’ first assignment will be to pick the Test squad to take on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. Jayasuriya’s panel named a 25-member preliminary squad last month as its last assignment.
Sri Lanka will face Pakistan in two Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is.